About Us

We are a group of both autistic and non-autistic researchers and practitioners based in Sheffield, UK.  We have deep interests in the benefits of special forms of Dialogue and the benefits of it in the experience and field of autism.  We were formed as a result of discussions in early 2017 between Dr.Liz Milne, director of Sheffield Autism Research LabSheffield Autism Research Laband Jonathan Drury, facilitator, research worker and MA Autism student and are currently based within the Sheffield Autistic Society, which is led by Liz Friend.

Liz Milne, Liz Friend & Jonny Drury
Elizabeth Milne, Liz Friend & Jonathan Drury

See below for individual profiles.

As well as running sessions, we are in the process of setting up a national network to research the benefits of dialogue for autistic people and communication between the diverse range of autistics, professionals and practitioners.

This website will serve as a central point for announcements, information and your registration for news and events.  Autism Dialogue will soon be forming as a charity and we invite anyone who is interested in our work, particularly with skills sets and interests in participatory autism practice, to come forward.

By facilitating Dialogue for as many key people as possible, both living and working in the world of autism, we wish to bridge gaps in the world-view of autism, (including the research to practice gap and between the concepts of medical and social models of disability), work towards a deeper understanding and more unified consensus and improve quality of life for autistic people.  If you would like to find out more, please send a message using the contact form. Your name and email will also be added to a private list so we can keep you updated, if you prefer us not to retain your email, please say so.

We are pleased to be supported by and are members of a number of organisations including Sheffield Autistic Society, SHARP (Sheffield Autism Research Partnership), Sheffield Autism Partnership Board PARC (Participatory Autism Research Collective), ShARL (Sheffield Autism Research Lab) and AoPD (UK Academy of Professional Dialogue).

Read about Dialogue here.

Member Profiles

Jonathan Drury BA (Hons)

Jonathan is the founder and principal facilitator of Autism Dialogue. He is a postgraduate student on the MA Autism Spectrum at Sheffield Hallam University and Personal Assistant to an autistic man.

Jonathan has a professional background in socially engaged art for personal development (via a combination of art, philosophy and dialogue) and also has training and experience of delivery in counselling, mediation, the autism experience and as a research worker at Disability Sheffield, exploring the barriers employers face with disabled people in employment.  He has extensive experience in spirituality-based discipline and has devised and managed EU-funded workshops for minority groups using practices rooted in creativity and mindful dialogue. He also ran an international national organic food business.

He has strong interests in communication, the autistic voice in research, how autism emerges in different cultures and Bohm’s Quantum and Implicate Order theories.  He is a member of the Academy of Professional Dialogue and of Sheffield Autism Partnership Board. Read more about our services offering here.

Dr. Liz Milne

Liz provides and applies her expert knowledge of autism to support our research and activities, mostly from the psychological perspective but increasingly the sociological and holistic too.  She is Director of Sheffield Autism Research Lab, has a BA in Experimental Psychology from Oxford and a PhD Psychology from UCL.  Liz’s primary research goal is to understand the nature of perception in autism.  Underlying her work on autism is a general interest in understanding human attention and perception processes.  Liz wrote our recent research proposal for Autism Dialogue, as method for improving well-being and professional community cohesion, for which we still require funding.

Liz Friend MBE

Liz received her MBE in 2015, in part for her committed work within the development of voluntary autism services in Sheffield and for providing services to Public Administration, Customer Service and voluntary services when she was also Head of Sheffield Central Drafting Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Liz has a Masters degree in Autism Spectrum from Sheffield Hallam University, is a co-founder and organiser of various services within the Sheffield Autistic Society and member of the Sheffield Autism Partnership Board. She has also directly helped set up a number of other succesful charities.  Liz provides essential practical and person-centred support for our work and specifically at our events.

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